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Sun May Complicate New Year’s Eve Preparations

Particles ejected by recent solar storms are due to slam into Earth over the next few days, possibly causing super-charged northern lights displays and temporary radio blackouts in some areas, experts say, Space.com reported on Tuesday.

On Monday (Dec. 26), the sun unleashed a massive eruption of solar plasma known as a coronal mass ejection (CME). The CME’s fast-moving charged particles should squarely strike Earth’s magnetic field at about 2020 GMT Wednesday, give or take seven hours, according to Spaceweather.com.

The particles from another CME could deliver a glancing blow to our planet a few hours earlier on Wednesday, Spaceweather.com reported.

The two impacts will likely spawn minor and/or moderate geomagnetic storms at high latitudes on Wednesday and Thursday. If they’re powerful enough, geomagnetic storms can temporarily disrupt GPS signals, radio communications and power grids. According to the US federal agency the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), such disruptions are expected until Dec. 31.